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Do most doctors have to donate blood?

I've heard that getting tattoos prevent you from donating blood, so I was just curious to whether or not doctors are expected to donate blood. Or if doctors are even aloud to get tattoos because of the professional work place? doctor health experience tattoos

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Catherine’s Answer

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First, here is how tattoos affect/do not affect your ability to donate blood:


According to the Red Cross, in order to donate blood, you must "wait 12 months after a tattoo if the tattoo was applied in a state that does not regulate tattoo facilities". Currently, that means you need to wait 12 months before you donate blood if you got a tattoo in the following states: "District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wyoming." The reason for this is that there are concerns about hepatitis, a disease which can be transmitted by needles.


They also add: "A tattoo is acceptable if the tattoo was applied by a state-regulated entity [shop] using sterile needles and ink that is not reused. Cosmetic tattoos applied in a licensed establishment in a regulated state [any of the states not listed in the first paragraph] using sterile needles and ink that is not reused is acceptable. You should discuss your particular situation with the health historian at the time of donation"


Now, for the doctor part: No one, not even doctors, can be required or forced to donate blood. I'm sure a lot of doctors choose to donate blood and hospitals hold blood drives to encourage their employees to do so, but you are never required. Now, if you choose to donate blood, and you're a doctor, you just have to follow the policy I described from the Red Cross. As far as professionalism: as you can imagine, some people feel that having a tattoo does not look professional, so they might be biased against you if they see one. For this reason, my recommendation is that if you really want to get a tattoo, get it somewhere on your body that can be concealed when you are wearing professional clothes.


One more thing - if you do chose to get a tattoo, the most important thing you must do is check that the shop holds a license, is clean, and autoclaves their needles and tools. Do your research online to make sure the shop is in good standing.


Tattoos do not prevent you from donating blood however they do ask that your ink be over six months old before you do. (I know this because I have 21 tats and donate blood often). It is not a requirement for you to donate blood if you are a Dr. There are some that feel that they should donate as part of their profession but it is in no way a requirement. Misty Miller

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Misty’s Answer

While it is not a requirement for you to donate if you are a doctor, some do still find that it is a way for them to give back to their patients. As for having tattoos, while it does not prevent you from giving blood, they do ask that your tattoos are at least six months old before you go in to donate.

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